Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

TUC Demo: People’s Assembly Against Workfare.

with 100 comments

The TUC is holding a march on Saturday.

Supporters of Ipswich Unemployed Action, and DPAC, will be on coaches from our county, to back the demonstration.

Many of us will be there be as part of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Suffolk People’s Assembly.

National TUC Demonstration | 18 October 2014

 

Assemble: 11 am, Victoria Embankment, London
March to Hyde Park

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity will be mobilising in support of this mass demonstration called by the TUC. This will be the third demonstration this summer, following our No More Austerity demo on 21 June, which saw 50,000 people take to the streets, and the co-ordinated strike action on July 10, with over 1 million public sector workers on strike (watch the footage from Trafalgar Square here).

Some key reasons for getting involved:

  • Poverty Pay – 1 in 5 people in Britain now earn less than the living wage, and for the first time ever we have more people in work below the poverty line than the number of people unemployed!
  • The Cost of Living Crisis – We are told that we have recovered from the cost of living crisis, but ordinary people are still £40 a week worse off on average than they were 5 years ago. Furthermore, if bankers hadn’t crashed the economy and wages growth had stayed on track, workers would have £100 a week more in their pay packets!
  • Rising Inequality – In 1998, Chief Executives received 45 times the average pay. Now they receive 185 times the average pay. Put in other terms, they make more in a day and a half than what most people earn in 12 months!

There has been controversy over the TUC’s stand on workfare.

This is the People’s Assembly policy (which I moved) on Workfare, passed at the PA National meeting on March the 15th 2014.

  • Conference notes the continuing use of compulsory unpaid work (“Workfare”) and the plans to extend them by use of Community Work Placements from April 2014.Conference believes that Workfare:-
  • Does not address the underlying causes of unemployment.
  • It does not reduce unemployment.
  • It enables employers to take advantage of unpaid labour while cutting pay and employment opportunities for others.
  • Penalises and stigmatises unemployed people and Should not exist. A
  • ll workers be paid the going rate and on the same terms and conditions as other workers.

Conference resolves that: All public bodies, contractors to public bodies, voluntary organisations and charities, as well as all private employers should refuse to accept Workfare placements arranged by Jobcentre Plus or the Work Programme providers.

  • All supporters of the People’s Assembly should take steps to establish whether or not Workfare placements are being used by organisations they are involved in and take steps to end such placements.
  • There should be an independent investigation into the Welfare-to-Work industry.Benefit claimants should receive a decent level of benefits, proper training and the best opportunities, without compulsion, to look for paid employment.
  • The People’s Assembly should campaign against Workfare.”

Passed unanimously.

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100 Responses

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  1. Regular posters on this blog, super ted and others, have managed to avoid four week workfare placements by invoking their right under the DPA to withhold their personal data and not sign provider documents. Why don’t other claimants do this when referred to community work placements?

    Parker Pyne

    October 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    • I’m lucky in that I completed the work programme before April 28 this year, so I’m exempt from the 6 month slave thing. However I have heard that some unscrupulous advisers are telling claimants who did complete the wp before April that they now have to do cwps and are referring them to providers. I don’t know if there’s any truth in it.

      Schmidtt

      October 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      • Nothing anyone says about a JCP adviser would surprise me anymore; they really are the scum of the earth. My work coach gleefully announced to me she is going to refer me to Shitec for a 4 week slave deal. When she told me that, she was drooling and slavering with joy. I’d love to know what unholy corner of hell they dredged her sorry asse up from. She really is the pits. Despicable human scum, worse than a dog.

        I know a provider can’t share my personal data with a third party without my consent – it has to be given freely.

        I am not going to confirm any of my personal details to the provider and nor am I going to sign any of their paperwork either. I will tell them “I do not consent to share that information with you”. And when they ask me to complete their forms, I’ll say ” If filling in your paperwork is mandatory then evidence that to me write now. Show me exactly where it says in your generic provider guidance that I have to fill in any of your paperwork”.

        What they’ll do when that happens, I don’t know. I suppose they’ll grass me up to the Jobcentre but not before they issue a series of threats and ultimatums. When I get back to the Jobcentre they’ll then threaten to raise a sanction doubt against me if I don’t comply.

        Huggy Bear

        October 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      • I did read on a previous posting that some jobseekers who finished the wp before April 28 this year are being put on cwps by their advisers.

        orange juice

        October 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      • Schmidtt

        You may need this

        http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/12/withhold/

        enigma

        October 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      • Of course the advisors are telling claimants (who have finished the work programme) that they are being referred to some other scheme (in the hope that the claimant does not know the rules and regs and also DPA), we all know what they want is for every claimant to be on a scheme, and other scheme and so on, again, read before you sign.

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      • Hi Huggy bear

        Its been a long while since anyone asked me the question you just posted as regards can you prevent DWP sending personal and or sensitive data to a provider.

        According to the social security act, chapter 1, section 3 inline with the Social Security Administration Act , part 7 , section 122C & D, DWP can without prior consent through claiming legal exemption pass forward your data to a provider or any agent working for DWP.

        They were designed to allow transmission of data between DWP and the tax office and or housing benefit but like all laws was twisted. Even as a claimant your benefit is taxable and housing benefit changeable upon receipt of or not unemployment benefit.

        Basically the provider is helping administer benefits through noting and reporting your attendance or lack of it which effects for the period your their, your entitlement to benefit.

        I am aware that under UC they will attempt to make submission to consent part of the requirements to being eligible for said benefit when first claiming but what form this will take legally I cannot say currently as i have no time to study it.

        gaia

        October 21, 2014 at 6:13 am

    • Parker pyne

      Why don’t other claimants do this when referred to community work placements?

      A lot of people don’t know about DPA.

      enigma

      October 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      • enigma

        Some good letter templates on the refuted link. While I can prevent a provider from sharing my personal data, can I prevent the Jobcentre from sharing my personal data with the provider, I wonder?

        Also, paragraph 4 of the Help to Work guidance states: “It is important that all those involved with HtW, and Work Coaches in particular, are fully familiar with these measures and the relationships between them”.

        From what I’ve seen of Work Coaches, most of them are are more than familiar with these measures but choose to blatantly disregard them. They prey on the claimants lack of knowledge and use it to deceive and trick them.

        Parker Pyne

        October 18, 2014 at 8:52 am

      • Parker Pyne

        http://ico.org.uk/

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

      • enigma –

        I’ve looked at the two links provided by you, and I still don’t understand whether you can stop jcp from sharing your personal data with a provider or not.

        What does it all mean enigma? What does it all mean?

        MWA conscript

        October 18, 2014 at 11:26 am

      • MWA conscript/ParkerPyne

        Read everything that is put in front of you at the jobcentre, you do not have to sign everything.

        we see a lot of people on schemes and so called courses, those people are on them because they don’t know that actually all those schemes are voluntary, and they don’t know about DPA. (if only every unemployed person knew this)

        Last year I received a letter from the jobcentre stating that I was due to start a course,(mandatory) at college, of course it also stated a warning as usual, I knew then that all these schemes/courses were voluntary, I didn’t intend to start the course, (it does not matter what the course or scheme is, they are all voluntary) on the first day of the course I received an email (deleted email add) from an adviser asking me if I had started the course, you have to think about that, why didn’t the adviser know, it is assumed that if an advisor has put you on a course or scheme, that your details have been shared with a provider, that is only if you had signed something regarding a course or scheme. I did not have to attend the course because I had not signed anything regarding the course, so my details were not passed from the jobcentre to the college, because of DPA. be careful what you sign, just because they tell you, you have to sign something, doesn’t mean you have to,

        I did not reply to the email!

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    • If Superted is reading this blog I have a few questions for him. This post may come across as somewhat disjointed.
      I have read several posts lately stating that you have won all appeals against sanctions concerning MWA’s using a “No Contract” defence. Does this “No Contract” defence also apply to ALL types of “employment / training” programmes? There are at present no CWP’s in my area as far as I am aware of. It would inspire confidence amongst readers of this blog if we were told roughly how often and how recently you won appeals using this “No Contract” defence.
      A post by Helping Hand 27 Sept 2014 12:00 p.m. has stated that you tell them “you DO NOT CONSENT to supply them with any information” but that you should be careful not to REFUSE anything point blank.
      Another post by Tobanem 11 Oct 2014 3:43 p.m. has recommended not filling in and not signing registration forms and then, if sanctioned, telling the Decision Maker in writing that you have “No Contract” with the agency / provider, etc. and that you DO NOT CONSENT to give them any information.
      Your own post of 11 Oct 2014 2014 suggests that claimants should just show the agency / provider, etc. the letter from the JCP and ask them where does it state that I have to sign any 3rd party paper work because it doesn’t. It states that it’s mandatory that I go to said agency / provider on said date and nothing else.
      I myself have spent most of this year on a MWA and “employment / training” programmes and my bastard “adviser” is trying to put me on another one! He’s only doing it to try and meet his targets, though he’d never admit it. I just want to get off this f***ing merry-go-round!
      Replies, comments, suggestions, advice,etc. from other bloggers, claimants, victims, etc.are, of course deeeply appreciated.

      ben

      October 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

      • all of the sanctions i have had was for non attendance even tho i did show up and kept proof by bus tickets to show i did go on said date so won all my sanctions.

        by not signing there paper work you put them in a impossible position as you are then worthless to them but you must still say you will take part and ask them in righting what help they will provide you with ie fuck all and sit there with a smile.

        also you must not give the jcp any phone numbers or email addresses as if you do it will be sent to the providers and you dont want them on ur back so dont give it to them all they need is name and address for a jsa claim.

        on my mwa i posted comments on there face book page about them using slaves at there store and when i turned up was told i shat on them and was not wanted at there store and was given 10 quid and told to go home.

        i was also called a reject from society that they did not want at there store and i looked like a smelly tramp on there fb page b4 they had my account banned and it was a charity shop lol.

        proved i went then 😉

        i was also told id not get a sanction but 3 weeks later had another non attendance sanction from head office of the provider in London that i also won.

        of there fb page, why dont you tell every one you had my account banned for posting my letters from the dwp that you use mwa slaves at your store and you dont want the public to know this had me banned and my posts removed and try to get me a 3 month sanction doubt that i won, also the dwp lost its appeal so now has to provide the list of the company’s involved in using mwa and cwp placements so ur screwed now boys

        https://www.facebook.com/armyofangels.charity?fref=ts

        super ted

        October 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      • “ben”

        If you are still wondering what to do after you have been advised on some practical methods to defend yourself regarding mandatory work, you really should go and see a solicitor and/or someone at a Citizens Advice Bureau.

        You will need to be strong and determined to take on the DWP!

        Tobanem

        October 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      • Ben:

        Sound advice from super ted. enigma posted this link earlier today. It contains some good letter templates. Like ted says keep a record of everything; keep all bus tickets too. In fact keep a log of everything that was said, dates and times, etc. I even invested in a digital recorder so I record all my interviews and signings.

        Be assured you are not alone. Like you, I’ve got a right pig of an adviser. She has told me if I don’t find some voluntary work for myself to do locally within the next two weeks then she is going to refer me to a provider for a 4 week MWA. When she said it though, she didn’t sound like she could back it up with the referral. We shall see. My local providers are pimp Seetec and the pimp Papworth Trust.

        I will keep you all updated on what happens next.

        http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/12/withhold/

        jj joop

        October 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      • JJ

        To volunteer is a good thing to do, remember being able to choose is better and will be better than any forced MWA scheme, volunteering will also get you out of being put onto the supervised job search, if you do say 20 hours of voluntary work, then that will be 20 hours less on the supervised job search.

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      • enigna:

        I’ll take your comments in to consideration. Thing is, I live out in the sticks and I know for a fact that MWAs around here are very thin on the ground. The provider office is about 25 miles from where I live. When I was on the WP, they only wanted me to come in once a fortnight for two hours and that was it. It had nothing to do with the lack of space at the centre, it was to do with about how much it cost to ferry me in by train and bus; nearly fourteen quid a day.

        I’ve got two weeks to consider my options.

        jj joop

        October 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      • Oops sorry, typo: I spelt your name wrong.

        jj joop

        October 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      • If you want to avoid these fucking schemes the best thing to do is to cut off your hand then you won’t be able to sign any of their shit no matter how much pressure they put on you. Not signing means they don’t get paid and if they don’t get paid the ‘providers’ won’t want the jobcentre sending you on any more of their schemes. Think about it: these providers are private companies out to make as much money as possible. Why would they want to arrange an MWA/CWP placement is they know they aren’t going to get paid for this? They are not – they are going to tell the jobcentre not to send you any more. This is the only way to beat this shit. All the poor fucks you see on these schemes either don’t know about the DPA or don’t have the confidence/courage to use it. It is entirely up to you if you want to be kept getting sent on MWA/CWP – the solution is in your hands… if you don’t use them to sing shit. Superted has got this shit nailed!

        Dooper

        October 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      • And make sure you can prove, evidence everything. Make recordings, keep a log. Make is easier to fight off the inevitable sanction.

        Dooper

        October 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      • btw there is fuck all, absolutely fuck all the jc can do if you don’t sign any of the MWA/CWP provider shit.

        Dooper

        October 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

  2. Huggy Bear:

    Fuck me gently. You are on fire. Way to go, my friend, way to go!

    jj joop

    October 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    • I am with you all the way.

      jj joop

      October 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    • Thanks Dog.

      Huggy Bear

      October 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      • Hey Huggy, your comments about jcp are spot on. My adviser is a piece of human garbage.

        Death Star

        October 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      • Death Star and Huggy Bear: your comments about advisers are spot on. They really do stink.

        orange juice

        October 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm

  3. … and their fucking bullshit A-B fucking marches!

    Fuck the T-U-fucking-C...

    October 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

  4. Will the PCS (SCUM) be taking part in this fucking bullshit A-B march? Let us all march shoulder- to-shoulder with the sanctioning bastard ‘decision makers’; let us all fight for more pay longer tea-breaks and bigger pensions for the greedy Nazi bastard jobcentre staff; let us all show support for the very same [expletive deleted] who are throwing us into destitution – talk about cutting your own throat

    PCS are SCUM!!

    October 18, 2014 at 9:26 am

    • From Boycott Workfare:

      “The Trades Union Congress was bombarded with tweets and emails, while claimants from Kilburn demonstrated, asking the TUC how it can march for a “pay rise” while actively supporting “no-pay” Traineeships for young people and sanctions.”

      They can shove their fucking ‘pay-rise’ up their fucking arses

      Fuck the TUC

      October 18, 2014 at 9:35 am

      • TUC. What a bunch of hypocritical wankers.

        Up Yer Bum

        October 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

  5. Now it’s “EasyShop”, the cashless supermarket selling unbranded goods in plain white labels!

    The emergence of so many of foodbanks inspired “Easy Jet” owner Sir Stelios Haji-loannou, to set up his version of a privatised foodbank – with low wages for staff…and presumably zero hours contracts! Sir Stelios said he would continue even if his new business venture only manages to break even or runs at a small loss.

    The average cost per item will be 50p.

    The cashless element of this enterprise raises a lot of concerns, bearing in mind that one major ingredient of the ultimate Big Brother tyranny where Government and Bankers have total control will be the cashless society – if society as we know it still exists!

    Tobanem

    October 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

  6. Stelios should have checked the colour of his signs as they are exactly the same colour as Sainsbury’s signs which are well established, there may be an issue with copyright here?

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 18, 2014 at 10:47 am

    • But Sainsburys is in danger of either going out of business completely (along with Tesco and Morrisons) or being taken over by Aldi or Lidl.

      The Grocer

      October 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      • I think we can all see what will happen to the current big supermarket chains

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

  7. Supervised job search, You can only search for jobs using UJM, you can not use any other website, how stupid is that.

    enigma

    October 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    • enigma –

      Where did you hear that? And what you said earlier about not signing anything if people don’t sign anything at the Jobcentre about the supervised job search then having to use UJM becomes irrelevant, surely.

      MWA conscript

      October 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      • Panorama, (supervised job search)

        We don’t have to sign everything, because of DPA.

        Some people will be referred to the supervised job search, but this doesn’t mean they have to do it. if you read the info about supervised job search you will see.

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      • When was this panorama programme on?

        MWA conscript

        October 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      • Last Monday, 8.30pm

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      • I have been looking for the programme but can not find it, it may have been a different programme.? I remember seeing a bit of it, where claimants were sitting at computer screens, were told not to use any other websites other than UJM.

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      • It was panorama, last week.

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      • If it’s Panorama it can only be “Workers on the Breadline”, first broadcast on 6 Oct.
        I watched it at the time and don’t remember any “Supervised Jobsearch” in it.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04l6x1k

        Another Fine Mess

        October 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

      • Panorama: The Farage Factor, Mon 13 Oct
        I can’t imagine it being in this one.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04lxvrd

        Another Fine Mess

        October 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

      • Sorry “Another Fine Mess” I’m now in a fine mess!

        enigma

        October 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    • Using UJM only makes perfect sense. It’s the only way the Jobcentre can track you to see if you’re actually applying for work.

      jj joop

      October 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      • Very true jj

        But there are those as Tobanem pointed out in the last post, some people won’t be able to use UJM because they have no knowledge of computers, and then there is..

        On showing someone how to do things on UJM while in the food bank, his advisor had posted a job into his account on UJM, which he needed to apply for, but the only way that he could apply for it was by email, which means he would have to go to his email account, a different website, to apply for that job, but as panorama pointed out, people would not be able to apply for jobs in that situation because they can’t deviate from UJM. it also means people won’t see any other jobs that are available.

        enigma

        October 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      • jj it states in the following that you should not be referred to any MWA or other schemes if you are a volunteer or training.

        https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/145190/response/350598/attach/html/2/5.MWA%20guidance%20163.pdf.html

        enigma

        October 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    • enigma –

      This an old posting dated 1 October 2013. Is there anything more up to date?

      MWA conscript

      October 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      • Look yourself

        enigma

        October 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm

  8. OK – For all the numbty’s out there, once and for all – no one has actually got to use UJ at anytime to look for a job… ‘everyone got it now’.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 18, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    • I too know that no one has to create an account on UJM, I don’t, those people who use UJM will be on the supervised job search, and others who don’t use UJM will be told to go down to their local jobcentre to create an account on UJM, last year I received a letter from the jobcentre stating that an apt was made for me to go to the jobcentre and create an account, I was told that everyone has to create an account, to that I said, “no they don’t” I then asked the adviser what their name was, as soon as they told me, they looked worried, I was then asked to sign stating that I had been to the apt!

      As jj stated, Using UJM only makes perfect sense. It’s the only way the Jobcentre can track you to see if you’re actually applying for work.

      Supervised job search on Panorama? I realize it wasn’t on panorama, I was told by a neighbour, though it is obvious that those on supervised job search will be using UJM, and not permitted to go to any other website.

      enigma

      October 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      • Oh crap. I do have a UJM account. It’s on my CC that I log on to it to check for jobs. If I do get flicked on to the supervised job search I suppose I can always say that I’ve lost my User ID and I don’t remember the password, either. Having said that I could always say I do not consent to share my data/that information with them.

        As for only using UJM on the supervised job search when you take in to account an individual’s circumstances, I don’t think many of them will actually be spending 35 hours on it. More like an hour a day at most.

        Has anyone here actually heard of, or know anyone who is on this thing yet?

        And is there any way you can actually close a UJM account? I’ve looked and I can’t actually find anything that allows you to do that.

        Parker Pyne

        October 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      • You can delete your account on UJM, I have seen it before, look for your account details on UJM, you will see that you can delete it, instead of using UJM, keep a record of everything you do in regards looking and applying for work, the date, the job, pt or full time, the company or hotel whatever, the phone number, email add, and replies you receive, put all that info on paper, I did it in word, just copy and paste all replies etc, I then took 3 pages of a4 with all that I had done to the jobcentre, no problem.

        scroll up to see “Obi Wan Kenobi” message.

        enigma

        October 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      • You can have your cc changed, if they don’t change it, complain, if still nothing happens, inform your MP.

        enigma

        October 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

  9. This looks well-considered at least.

    Existing problems with Universal credit risk being replicated unless you resolve them

    Dear Iain,

    At your party conference you announced your intention to “accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit … from the New Year, bringing forward the national roll-out through 2015/16 to every community across Great Britain”.

    As 985,920 fewer people receiving are Universal Credit than you originally said would be claiming the new benefit by April 2014, acceleration is clearly necessary.
    However, given the litany of problems with the delivery of this scheme to date, and the £130m of public money wasted on IT, it would be extremely worrying if even the limited expansion of the scheme you have announced was being driven more by a political timetable than by due concern for effective and efficient delivery.

    Yesterday I visited the North West to find out first-hand how the Universal Credit pathfinders had been working in practice. I met with local authorities, the voluntary sector, housing providers and work programme contractors as well as staff and managers at the Jobcentre in Ashton-under-Lyme, which as you know has had the longest experience of handling Universal Credit claims. I would like to take this opportunity to record my gratitude and appreciation for the time they took to meet me and I am grateful also to you and officials at the DWP for helping to arrange this.

    These meetings confirmed to me that the principle of Universal Credit is a good one that could bring real benefits to claimants, communities and taxpayers. It was also very clear that professionals across the public, private and voluntary sectors in these areas are working extremely hard to make Universal Credit a success.
    However it was also clear that there remain a range of serious problems with the current operation of Universal Credit which risk being replicated and multiplied across the country on a far larger scale if Universal Credit unless they are resolved.

    The serious problems that were raised with me included:

    • the IT systems and related work processes around Universal Credit claims remain “clunky”, poor at handling complex or dynamic circumstances, and prone to delays and mistakes in processing claims and making payments.
    • a significant level of system error which currently needs to be identified and corrected through costly manual checks.
    • particular problems and high rates of error associated with the incorporation of the housing costs element of Universal Credit.
    • concerns that claimants had not been informed of, or had difficulty in accessing, budgeting support, advance payments or alternative payment arrangements.
    • an extremely high incidence of rent arrears that implied very substantial financial and administrative burdens for housing providers as caseloads increase.
    • the meaning of “in-work conditionality” and how in-work support will be delivered by jobcentres remains extremely unclear despite the fact that numbers of Universal Credit claimants in work will increase as the caseload expands and matures and the integral importance of this element to the programme’s aim of providing a different set of incentives to progress in work and increase working hours
    • joint-working between the DWP and relevant local partners is patchy and there is poor data-sharing between the two, with little automatic integration of information on claimants and their circumstances.

    The problems which I was told about during my visit are leading to concerns about the risks to claimants and additional costs to the public purse when Universal Credit is rolled out in other parts of the country. Therefore I am writing today to ask that you give us clarity and assurance on the following key issues:

    1. What guarantee can you give that the IT systems for Universal Credit will not increase levels of error and delays in processing claims, payments and changes of circumstances?
    2. What is your estimate of the current cost of manual processes for identifying and rectifying system errors, and how will you prevent this increasing as the caseload expands?
    3. Will you publish a full evaluation of the impact of including new claims with a housing cost element in current Pathfinder areas before introducing Universal Credit to new areas?
    4. Will you guarantee that all Universal Credit claimants will be fully informed of their options for budgeting support, advance payments and alternative payment arrangements, and set strict and published limits for the time taken to process and deliver on requests made?
    5. What are the current levels of awareness and take up of options for budgeting support, advance payments and alternative payment arrangements among current claimants?
    6. What increases in levels of rent arrears and related proceedings do you anticipate with the increasing incorporation of housing cost elements into the Universal Credit caseload?
    7. How has “in work conditionality” been delivered in practice so far? What are the outcomes and lessons of its implementation so far? How will it be rolled out nationally?
    8. What information on claimants and the circumstances and their partners is currently shared automatically between the DWP and relevant partners, and what can only be shared manually? What information cannot be provided even on request?
    9. What steps will you take to ensure that joint working between the DWP and relevant partners is improved before introducing Universal Credit in new areas?
    10. Will local authorities and voluntary sector partners in every area receive the same level of additional funding and support from the DWP for supporting the introduction of Universal Credit as has been available to Pathfinders? What has been the cost of this, and what will be the cost of extending it to all areas of the country?
    And following your written ministerial statement of 13 October:
    11. What IT system will underpin the full national roll-out, if, as you have stated, testing of the “enhanced digital service” is to start “later this year” in a “limited local area?
    12. What exactly has been “assured by the Major Projects Authority and signed off by HM Treasury”, especially give the statement that “we will keep all longer-term plans under review.
    13. When will a long-term plan for the full-implementation of Universal Credit be published?
    14. How many people will be on universal credit by 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018?
    15. By what date will universal credit be rolled out entirely across the country?
    16. By what date will the migration of all legacy benefits have been completed?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Rachel Reeves MP is shadow secretary of state for work and pensions

    http://leftfootforward.org/2014/10/open-letter-iain-duncan-smith-universal-credit-questions-that-need-answering/#more-89337

    Andrew Coates

    October 19, 2014 at 10:29 am

    • When I spoke to my work coach earlier this week, she was waxing lyrical about UC. She thinks it’s going to be the best thing since sliced bread! She can’t wait for it to come in, in fact. Another occupant of Narnia Wonderland, I fear. Silly work coach.

      Parker Pyne

      October 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      • It’s like fucking Narnia in the Job Centre here too!

        Andrew Coates

        October 20, 2014 at 10:22 am

    • Yes, a train crash waiting to happen!

      I don’t even agree with the theory held by some that UC is a good idea because it will apparently streamline and simplify things. The benefits system is too inherently complex, with peoples circumstances changing all the time – especially tax and Housing Benefit details. The system will not be able to keep pace.

      The Benefits system simply CAN NOT be simplified!!!

      Tobanem

      October 20, 2014 at 7:37 am

      • Tobanem – your wrong, it is very easy to simplify – Just abolish it altogether as all parties are trying to do.

        Then they could spend your taxes and NI on things that really matter MP’s salaries and expenses.

        growls

        October 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm

  10. A second government minister made contentious comments over the disabled and their role in the workplace at the Conservative Party’s annual conference last month, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

    Andrew Selous, a Justice minister and former parliamentary aide to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, told a fringe meeting that “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/disabled-are-grateful-so-work-harder-says-tory-minister-9804276.html

    Andrew Coates

    October 19, 2014 at 11:01 am

    • Behave yourself!

      enigma

      October 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    • Under the Act, someone found guilty of sending an offensive or threatening message could be sent to prison for a maximum of just six months. Alright, the obvious messages that threaten to kill, racism, homophobia, etc need to be stamped on – but what else constitutes a threatening message? Some people will literally take offence at anything or claim that, for example, being teased about their appearance makes them feel threatened.

      “Mr Grayling said: “As the terrible case of Chloe Madeley showed last week, people are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion.”

      What’s so terrible about it? She’s nothing more than an exihibitionist/media flasher. She claims to feel violated. I don’t think so, I’ll bet she’s just lapping up the free publicity. Apparently she has 30,000 Twitter followers; that’s 30,000 sad bastards. 30,000 people who need to get a life.

      Richard and Judy are talented broadcasters, I won’t dispute that. But their daughter is just another non-entity who will never be a patch on her famous parents.

      Huggy Bear

      October 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      • You could be doing with losing some weight, Huggy…. 😉

        Captain Dobey

        October 20, 2014 at 4:43 am

      • Hey Huggy Bear, you wanna buy some shit? 🙂

        Starsky and Hutch

        October 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

  11. Second Tory Minister makes offensive comments.

    Sun, 19/10/2014 – 17:10.

    A second Tory Minister in the space of a week has been caught out making offensive comments about disabled people – after Andrew Selous suggested that people with disabilities work harder because they are ‘grateful’ to have a job.

    These comments come on the back of Welfare Minister Lord Freud’s offensive claims earlier this week that people with disabilities aren’t ‘worth’ the full minimum wage.

    Andrew Selous has previously courted controversy by reportedly threatening to close down the foodbank charity the Trussell Trust while he was Iain Duncan Smith’s Parliamentary Private Secretary – because the charity had been critical of UK Government policy.

    Commenting, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said:

    “That a second Tory minister in under a week has been caught out making offensive comments about disabled people is absolutely disgusting – and is a grim insight into how this Tory government views people with disabilities.

    “First we had Lord Freud telling disabled people that they aren’t ‘worth’ the minimum wage, now Andrew Selous says that people with disabilities should be ‘grateful’ to have a job.

    “These comments come from the same Tory minister who reportedly threatened to close down the foodbank charity the Trussell Trust when he worked under Iain Duncan Smith.

    “Despite what a series of Tory ministers may think, people with disabilities play an important and valued role in our economy and society – any suggestion to the contrary is deeply offensive, and David Cameron must take action against his ministers for these ill-judged remarks.”

    Andrew Selous’ comments are reported here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/disabled-are-grateful-so-work-harder-says-tory-minister-9804276.html

    DWP threats to shut down Trussell Trust condemned

    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2014/jun/dwp-threats-shut-down-trussell-trust-condemned

    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2014/oct/second-tory-minister-makes-offensive-comments

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

  12. Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    • Protesters Gather outside DWP Caxton House London, demanding #FreudMustGo

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      October 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

  13. Labour calls Commons vote over Lord Freud comments on disabled workers.

    Labour will force a Commons vote on Lord Freud’s future after David Cameron refused to dismiss him as welfare minister for his suggestion that some disabled workers are not worth the minimum wage.

    The Conservative peer has been allowed to remain in his job after apologising for the comment, but Labour will table a motion of no confidence to be voted on later this month.

    Labour will force a Commons vote on Lord Freud’s future after David Cameron refused to dismiss him as welfare minister for his suggestion that some disabled workers are not worth the minimum wage.

    The Conservative peer has been allowed to remain in his job after apologising for the comment, but Labour will table a motion of no confidence to be voted on later this month.

    Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary said the prime minister’s failure to act to remove Freud was astonishing. She said: “When the disgraceful and offensive views like this go unchallenged within the Conservative party it’s clear that mask has slipped and the nasty party is back. Labour will table a motion of no confidence in Lord Freud because we believe it’s completely unacceptable that David Cameron has failed to sack his minister for welfare reform.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/19/labour-commons-vote-lord-freud-disabled-workers

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    • 🙂

      Auntie Beeb

      October 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    • Wow 🙂 What a hottie 🙂 Would love to rip her knickers off 🙂

      Bobbi Van Kenobi

      October 20, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      • You’d have to rip her beanie off first, luv lol …. looks like she is well wrapped up lol 🙂

        Edna

        October 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    • enigma:

      Great link. You are a veritable treasure trove of information. According to this document The Supervised Jobsearch locations must not be more than 90 minutes travelling time each way (by public transport) for any claimants referred by the Jobcentre Offices listed at Annex 9. I wonder hoe many work coaches will flout this rule. More to the point, I wonder how claimants will be even aware of the rule in th first place

      jj joop

      October 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      • JJ

        that’s just it, not many people will know, maybe put that doc on facebook and other sites for all to see.

        enigma

        October 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    • Unfortunately for my work coach, I try to remain as clued up as possible. And that is in part due to people like yourself. Thanks mate. You’re a star! Keep posting.

      jj joop

      October 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      • I won’t stop!

        enigma

        October 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm

  14. Kitchen, toilet facilities, phones etc, in jobcentres I don’t think so, if you get put on the supervised job search, print the doc above, then take it with you.

    enigma

    October 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm

  15. Claimant sanctioned for not sharing personal data with a provider. I thought you could consent not to share any personal data with a provider and not be sanctioned.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sanctioned_for_not_giving_date_o#incoming-574749

    DeathStar

    October 21, 2014 at 8:08 am

    • Another unlawful sanction.

      enigma

      October 21, 2014 at 8:28 am

      • Very likely. But lets face it, enigma. People like you, i.e. people who can step up and challege the DWP, are few and far between.

        Death Star

        October 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

      • 100% unlawful! This shit need to be challenged. Damn these providers to Hell!!

        Blackwater

        October 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm

  16. They are out to sanction as many claimants as possible, for reasons that are unlawful, they sanction claimants who they think will not do anything about it.

    enigma

    October 21, 2014 at 8:35 am

  17. Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

  18. Superted, if I remember correctly, sometime ago you provided a link in which someone submitted a FOI request in which the enquirer stated that he had established through FOI requests, etc. that jobcentre advisers could mandate claimants to provide printouts of their UJ accounts and he tried to find out the legal basis for this. I believe that in addition to yourself, Andrew Caotes, JBS, Hasnot snd jj joop also have to provide printouts of their UJ accounts.
    I do not know how long you and these people have been using these blogs but last year I came across a FOI request which stated that advisers cannot force claimants to provide printouts of their UJ accunt. Most importantly, this ACTUALLY WORKS!
    Access http://www.whatdotheyknow.com and enter “Universal jobmatch and providing proof of job searching activities” into the search box. A brief relevant summary is as follows

    Our Ref: FOI 3354 22nd July 2013

    Dear T Kay

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 16th July 2013. You asked for:-

    I ask for official clarification of the law that states that it is mandatory for a job seekers claimant to provide job centre plus advisers with access to their universal job match account and be required to provide print outs of job searching activities to their job centre plus adviser. (Other parts of the question follow).
    The reply consists of 1) paragraphs 188-189 of the Availability and Actively Seeking Employment chapter of the Labour Market Conditions Guide followed by the two sentences:

    In response to the question you have raised about requiring jobsearch evidence from Universal Jobmatch. Advisers cannot mandate claimants to give them access to their Universal Jobmatch account, NOR CAN THEY FORCE A CLAIMANT TO PRINT OUT SCREEN PRINTS OF THEIR UJ ACCOUNT. (my italics, not theirs)

    and 2) paragraphs 82-90 of the UJ Toolkit (as it was then), paragraphs 92-100 of the latest version.
    How do I know this actually works? I have a friend who like me refuses to allow advisers access to his UJ account. A few months ago his adviser gave him a Jobseeker’s Direction to provide printouts of all jobs applied for on his UJ account. Since I possess more knopwledge of these matters than he does, he asked me for advice. I suggested that he should show this FOI request and write a letter to the Decision Maker (DM) and give them to the adviser to send them on, which apparently the adviser agreed to. A while later he received a letter from the DM stating that his JSA would be suspended for 4 weeks. I told him to write a letter asking for 1) a written statement of reasons for this decision and 2) a copy of all the paperwork relating to this sanction doubt. This course of action was recommended by the blogger Jobcentre Mole (How to appeal sanctions January 16, 2014).
    2 weeks later he received a letter which contained their written statement of reasons, but nothing about the FOI request. The obvoius conclusion was that the adviser had never forwarded it on. I then helped him to draft a letter of complaint to his MP (A course of action recommended by Jeff Smith Campaign Against Cruel sanctions, October 12,2013) by e-mail containing the relevant facts, scanned documents and the fact that the adviser had violated internal DWP regulations concerning Jobseeker’s Directions, specifically paragraph 10, which states;

    “where the claimant refuses or fails to undertake a Jobseeker’s direction or cannot demonstrate that they have complied with one, the case must always be referred to the decision maker. The claimant’s reasons for not undertaking the activity must be included in the referral”

    He provided scanned copies of the Jobseeker’s Direction, letter to the DM, the FOI request, latest version of the UJ Toolkit, suspension of JSA, written statement of reasons and his JSA agreement which stated that he had to check, not apply through his UJ account a minimum of 3 times weekly. I also told him to apply for a mandatory reconsideration of his sanction.
    About 6 weeks later he received a letter from a DM another one from his MP. HE HAD WON! This was only a few weeks ago.
    The MP’s letter contained a letter from his area manager which claimed that the suspension of benefit was because my friend did not have good reason for his refusal to comply with his Jobseeker’s Direction. They then reconsidered this decision and decided that he should not be disentitled or sanctioned for these 4 weeks. This FOI request document that he provided to the DM was apparently the only reason that this recoconsideration was allowed, but they never stated this.

    (to be continued in a few minutes)

    ben

    October 22, 2014 at 10:57 am

  19. Sorry about the break. I had to wait a few minutes before I could log on again.

    They also wrote ” I am sorry (friend’s name) has not received the standard of service he is entitled to expect.” which is probably the nearest thing to an apology one is likely to expect from them. My friend received all his 4 week sanctioned JSA arrears. He told me that when he saw his adviser and gave him printouts of jobs he had applied for, his adviser seemed rather subdued and just flicked through them so hopefully he had been given a good bollocking by his superiors. By the way his MP is a right-wing Tory.
    I apologise if this comes across as rather verbose, but when dealing with the DWP it is better to know too much rather too little. I personally use a digital voice recorder hidden out of sight when dealing with an adviser / provider. This is the longest post I have ever written. I also have a huge stack of edited print outs from this website.
    Whether one is successful in using this FOI request document will probably depend on the adviser, the DM and whether you can afford to risk the sanction that will be applied if you go through with it. You will get your housing benefit and/or council tax paid so long as you go to your local council office with all your recent financial records as soon as you are sanctioned. Hopefully this will be of great use if anyone decides to act on this post. Please also try and spread it around to fellow sufferers which I always try to do, though a lot of people don’t seem bothered.

    ben

    October 22, 2014 at 11:25 am

    • I, too, use a digital voice recorder hidden out of sight to record all my signings / interviews. Although in my case I prefer to freak out the work coach by saying: Please be advised that I am recording this interview for legal and training purposes.

      Then I just smile as if to say: yeah, what are you going to do about it.

      She only stopped the interview once to call over her manager; I just flatly denied everything.

      petit pois

      October 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    • This is only the second part of my post. It took me almost an hour to enter the first part. It was about a way to stop advisers demanding printouts of UJ accounts when they have refused access to them using a FOI request which works. What happened to it? I saw a message stating that it was checked for moderation or something. I don’t particularly want to type it up again.

      ben

      October 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      • It’s probably being checked for accuracy. Word to the wise, ben. Do it on writer/word: save, then copy and paste. And it won’t happen again.

        petit pois

        October 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      • I see that the first part of my long post has finally come up. Happy reading, everyone!

        ben

        October 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

  20. Hey, hey ,hey, more people taking on the throne, now that’s what I like to hear as if your going to get sanctioned because that’s what the advisor has in their mind then whats to lose.

    I celebrate all those who have had enough, tired of being a scapegoat, tired of being lied about by government and ostracized by the working public as a result.

    Literally “TAKE THE LAW IN YOUR OWN HANDS” and present it to the advisor as and when needed but before doing so please also keep a copy of the CIVIL SERVICE CODE and hand them this FIRST and have them acknowledge this or pieces of it relevant like for instance, ” MUST comply with the law and uphold the administration of justice” or ” MUST NOT deceive or knowingly mislead ministers, Parliament or others” or even ” MUST NOT be influenced by improper pressures from others or the prospect of personal gain” for example.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-service-code/the-civil-service-code

    (CIVIL SERVANTS MUST AGREE TO THIS CODE PRIOR TO EMPLOYMENT).

    The more you hammer that nail, the less likely they are to involve a decision maker or apply for a sanction when they know only to well that for EXAMPLE, THEY HAVE NO LEGAL RIGHT, EVEN UNDER JOBSEEKER DIRECTION TO MANDATE ACCESS TO A CLAIMANTS UJM ACCOUNT.

    Check out my previous posts as I cover how to gum up any jobseekers direction to opening a UJM account, How to withhold your personal and or sensitive data within your existing UJMs account while transferring contact to your own email account by simply replacing your CV with a notice and thus cut DWP out of tracking you, How to use words that UJMs search engine cant produce suggested vacancies and many, many more ways to LEGALLY piss DWP right off and teach them a lesson.

    gaia

    October 22, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    • Gaia, I read your post about Claimant Commitments in the blog Benefit Sanctions 4,500 Hit in Manchester. Do you have any other information/advice to share concerning the CC, especialy the “35 hours of evidence”. My adviser is going to make an appointment for me to fill it in at some unspecified time in the future. He is a grade 1 bastard who tries to sanction me all the time but fortunately I know the rules and regulations unlike the rest of the poor saps I meeet in my jobcentre.

      ben

      October 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm


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